Being at work and accomplishing tasks, whether physically or virtually, takes up a substantial amount of time in each of our days. With so many people spending a good part of the week at their jobs, this puts employers in a good position to introduce and implement programs that care for the health of their employees.
Why care for employee health?
Health plans have always been an important part of company benefit packages. Employees are the core of the success of many businesses and when employees are healthy, then the business can thrive by ensuring that employees have the capability to be productive when they are on the job.
For employees, being healthy means a feeling of security knowing that they will be able to provide for their loved ones and fulfill their personal goals. It also means being physically well enough to accomplish tasks, to be mobile, focused, and useful. With being secure in their wellness, employees can then concentrate on utilizing and sharpening the skills they have, solving problems at work, and becoming more efficient and effective, instead of having illness weigh on their minds and bodies. These benefits usually extend to the employee’s loved ones, because their family’s health also affects their well-being.
Making well-being programs the new norm
These days, well-being has become the new buzzword for a holistic approach to employee health. Well-being programs are not only about proper nutrition and physical fitness. It includes the mental and emotional health of the employee, including tackling their personal growth and sense of purpose. With physical health being the only focus before, this time, well-being programs bring more of the intangible aspects of health to light.
One of the companies implementing these programs to champion well-being in the workplace is Unilever. Unilever has embarked on a journey to foster a safe space by making mental health support common place. On top of a 24/7 Employee Assistance Program and Monthly Virtual Consultations with a Psychologist, Unilever has recently launched the Unilever Mental Health Champion Program. This is a global initiative within the company that has been activated locally. The program aims to promote positive well-being, raise awareness, and break the stigma surrounding mental health.
The peer-to-peer support program has volunteers always ready to offer support to anyone who is struggling by having conversations where they can freely open up as these conversations are kept confidential.
Volunteers are given the proper training through a full workshop that gives them the right skills to handle conversations about mental health and direct their peers to the appropriate mental health resources.
On World Mental Health Day last October, they launched their #SafeSpaceOctober campaign with activities ranging from workout and meditation sessions to talks on anxiety, depression, and family life.
Building a mental health positive workplace has become a priority for Unilever, especially with the ongoing crisis, which has shown its effect on both the physical and mental health of employees.
Healthy employees make a healthy company. Caring for employee well-being brings better employee morale, trust, and respect for the company. This, in turn, leads to better attendance, higher productivity, and a more energized workplace. Having an effective holistic health program, one that gives as much importance to mental health as it does physical health, becomes the best tool to make sure that employees bring the best version of themselves to work every day.